The NY Jets have shown interest in signing free agent Jadeveon Clowney. And yet, it seems as though the former Pro Bowler is being woefully undervalued.
Sometimes NY Jets fans can be a bit stubborn. We’re loyal to a fault, our dedication is often a detriment to our overall happiness, but stubborn. Yeah, we could be pretty stubborn.
And when it comes to some fans and Jadeveon Clowney, it appears that that very character trait is rearing its ugly head.
When reports first emerged this offseason that Clowney was asking for upwards to $20 million per season, many Jets fans immediately rejected the notion that their team could target him in free agency.
And with good reason.
With countless other needs to address — particularly on offense — it made little sense to target a high-profile name who was coming off his worst statistical year in quite some time. Especially at the price he was asking for.
But as the days and weeks went by, Clowney remained unsigned. For whatever reason, his market didn’t develop the way he had planned and we now sit here in early May, over a week since the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft, and Clowney is still a free agent.
He’s biding his time, sure. But so is the NFL. And so are the Jets.
The Jets have been consistently connected to Clowney this offseason and some may say it’s simply due diligence — and perhaps they’re right. But there might be more to it than that, and yet some are unwilling to come to terms with it.
For whatever reason, Jadeveon Clowney’s value has been beaten and battered to the point that many are suggesting that the Jets steer clear of the three-time Pro Bowler no matter the price.
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Simply put, that’s absurd.
Clowney is a stout run defender who sets the edge better than most players in the NFL. The 27-year-old earned an elite 87.3 Pro Football Focus grade in 2019 and it wasn’t exactly a result of his three sacks in 13 games.
And while his pass-rush grade of 76.7 is nothing special, it’s far and away better than any edge rusher currently on the Jets. He’s an average pass rusher and an elite run stopper.
And that’s just the thing, even if he isn’t worth his initial asking price, he still would be an incredibly valuable addition to the Jets’ roster and easily the team’s best edge defender.
Clowney isn’t a spectacular pass rusher, but he’s certainly better than anyone on the Jets at this moment.
So then, what’s the holdup? Are some concerned with the tiresome criticism that his lack of sacks is because he’s “lazy”? Because if so, I challenge anyone to find a reliable source that has stated that to be an issue in his NFL career.
It’s not — and anyone who’s watched him play over the past few seasons knows that.
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For the right price, Clowney would be an outstanding addition to the Jets roster and there’s no telling the production that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams could get out of him. But again, it has to be for the right price.
Clowney isn’t going to get $20 million per year at this point, he may not even be getting $17 million or more. But could $15-16 million be reasonable for some team to pay? Sure.
That team probably shouldn’t be the Jets.
But if the price drops below that, it would be hard to advocate for passing — provided it’s not a long-term deal without any possible outs. The contract structure matters about as much as the average annual value.
The Jets could easily clear some cap space by moving players like Brian Winters or Avery Williamson either via trade or by simply releasing him. If cutting Winters, a projected backup guard, is all it takes, the Jets should immediately jump at the opportunity.
Jets fans have been told that Clowney was overrated for so long that many of them have begun to underrate him. He’s a very good player and one that shouldn’t be disregarded because of faulty narratives about his worth ethic or injury problems that plagued him some six years ago.
Jadeveon Clowney would make the Jets better. And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.